5 reasons to look forward to Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Bayer Leverkusen in opening game of 2024/25


The 2024/25 Bundesliga season will open in style on 23 August as Bayer Leverkusen kick off their title defence away at local rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach. Here’s just five reasons why you should be tuning into the start of the 62nd Bundesliga campaign…

Get the full 2024/25 Bundesliga fixture list here!

1) First look at the champs

Leverkusen more than earned their place as Bundesliga top dogs in 2023/24, going unbeaten in domestic competition on their way to claiming a league and cup double. The burning question on everyone’s lips is whether Die Werkself will maintain those lofty standards in Xabi Alonso’s second full campaign at the helm? Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have won back-to-back titles in the recent past, but there have been one or two one-season wonders – Wolfsburg in 2008/09 being the most recent cautionary tale. The Matchday 1 trip to Gladbach should provide the first indication of Leverkusen’s credentials.

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Watch: Leverkusen's road to the 2023/24 Bundesliga title

2) It’s a derby!

As well as being the 2024/25 curtain-raiser, Leverkusen’s meeting with Mönchengladbach is a Rhine derby. Champions Leverkusen hoovered up local bragging rights last term, when neighbours Cologne were relegated and Fortuna Düsseldorf suffered promotion play-off heartache. Gladbach were more middle of the road, falling well short of European qualification. However, in the unpredictable realm of derby matches, form and past meetings tend to go out of the window. At a packed Borussia-Park, with as many as 60,250 Bundesliga-starved supporters set to be in attendance, the Foals have it in them to muster a result that would send shockwaves throughout the Rhine and beyond.

3) Bayer Neverlusen

That said, Leverkusen are going to take some beating. They ended the 2023/24 domestic season with a record of 34 wins and six draws, whilst scoring 113 goals and conceding just 29. The likes of Borussia Dortmund and VfB Stuttgart were all minutes, in some cases, seconds, from ending the streak, only to fall victim to a now legendary ‘Better Late than Neverkusen’ show. Leverkusen did lose one of their 53 competitive games – a 3-0 defeat to Atalanta in the UEFA Europa League final – but haven’t gone home empty-handed against German opposition since the final matchday of the 2022/23 Bundesliga season.

Watch: Xabi' Alonso's Bundesliga Invincibles

4) Gladbach blueprint

At first glance, Gladbach don’t look like a team capable of doing what Bochum managed against Alonso’s team over 12 months ago. The Foals finished 14th last season – only a point clear of the relegation play-off spot – and are winless in their previous nine meetings with Bayer. They also lost 3-0 at home to the champions on Matchday 2 of 2023/24, before digging their heels in and holding them to a goalless draw in the reverse fixture. It was one of just six occasions that Leverkusen dropped points in the 34-game Bundesliga season, and the only league fixture in which they failed to score. Lessons will have been learned, and confidence levels boosted as Gladbach seek a repeat of their Matchday 1 wins over Leverkusen in August 2016 and 2018.

Watch: Gladbach shut out Leverkusen in January 2024

5) Starting with a bang!

It wouldn’t be the first time Borussia have landed the first blow on a reigning champ. In 2010/11, Igor de Camargo scored the only goal as Gladbach kicked off the season with a 1-0 win in Munich. Eleven years later, Alassane Pléa opened the scoring in a spirited 1-1 draw with the record champions at Borussia-Park. They also started with derby wins over Cologne in 2017/18 and Leverkusen in 2016/17 and 2018/19. And for one final dose of statistical fodder, current Gladbach striker Pléa is the only non-Bayern player in a list that includes a certain Alonso (2016/17) to score the first goal of a Bundesliga season since Marco Reus in 2012/13 (Dortmund).

You can also win tickets to see Leverkusen face Stuttgart in the Supercup!